tv American Artifacts CSPAN July 4, 2015 10:00am-11:01am EDT
ur hours a day seven days a week, we have the aircraft that flew the very last mission. why do we have them here -- mainly for observing the heritage and history behind strategic air command, the cold war, and all of those that were a part of that. >> throughout the weekend, "american history tv" is featuring omaha, nebraska. learn more about omaha and other stops on our tours at c-span.org/citiestour. you are watching "american history tv" all weekend every weekend on c-span3. >> each week american history tvs american artifacts takes you to museums and historic places. next we travel to your town virginia to witness the tall
sailing ship hermione. it was a replica of the military frigate that carried general marquis de lafayette in 1780 with a message from king louis xvi. promising thousands of french soldiers and a large naval force to help in the revolutionary war. the original hermione participated in the siege of yorktown in 1781. the journey was the beginning of a trip up the east coast of the u.s. with stops in major cities along the way. over the next hour, we will see remarks from american and french government representatives interviews with crew members and we will observe scenes and music from the arrival ceremony. when we arrived on june 5, hermione was just emerging from the fog.
left, left, left-right. left, left, left-right. tom: i am tom shepherd, chairman of the york county board of supervisors. on behalf of my fellow board members, it is an honor to welcome you to the beautiful waterfront as we celebrate he arrival of the hermione. a replica of the ship that helped us in our fight for independence in 1780. we are here to welcome the captain and crew of the hermione, and the drive to achieve which is evident when you look at the pier and see the hermione dock. however, we are also here to celebrate a man of spirit, determination and vision. i am speaking of marquis de lafayette. [applause]
tom: when he sailed on the hermione in 1780, the marquis was no stranger to american shores. he had fought as a member of the continental army in the early years of our struggle for independence. on his return in april, the marquis brought with him not only the promise from the king of france of additional support in the form of 6000 troops and seven ships, but also an enduring friendship that has lasted centuries. the marquis resumed his place alongside general washington and the continental army and was among troops, setting siege on the battle headquarters of yorktown in 1781. as you walk through yorktown you are walking in the footsteps
of our nation's first president. and the many frenchmen to whom we owe our thanks. for example, the marquis de lafayette, the comte de grasse the comte de rochambeau. and so many others. not only were these french heroes fighting in yorktown, but the hermione participated in the naval blockade and assault on british forces from the york river. today we celebrate the french who gave so much during the forming of our nation. the original hermione and their combined legacies. but we also celebrate the small group of individuals who first raised the possibility of reconstructing a replica of that ship called the frigate of freedom and sailing her across
the atlantic. we celebrate the people across the globe who have raised the funds for building her, and we celebrate the craftsman who toiled to construct a magnificent sailing vessel. finally, we celebrate the captain and crew of the hermione for a successful ocean crossing. together, you have made history, and you deserve to be recognized. [applause] tom: while we know the ship was built in modern times, to us it feels like we are welcoming home an old friend. at this time, i would like to introduce our governor. it is my pleasure to introduce his excellency the honorable terence r. mcauliffe, the 72nd governor of the commonwealth of virginia. [applause]
governor mcauliffe: thank you. good morning, everybody. all of our folks who come from france, ambassador, everybody else, congressmen, welcome to the greatest state in the united states of america, the commonwealth of virginia. [applause] governor mcauliffe: and if some of you poor souls are from some of those other 49 states, use this as an opportunity to find a home and move here, because we truly are the greatest. if you're not, at least spend all the money while you are here. welcome to virginia. captain, it is great to be with you. dorothy and i had an opportunity to tour the ship. she is spectacular. there are 79 crew. the original crew is 250. it is amazing what you can do with modern technology, but it was a crew of 79.
there were 50 volunteers on that ship. i know we gave the captain a great round of applause. they are all up on that ship sitting there. let's hear it for the crew. [applause] governor mcauliffe: and captain, we thank your wisdom and forethought for coming to your -- yorktown first -- to the commonwealth. he will head off to mount vernon and then went in a little smaller states and maryland, and massachusetts, those irrelevant states. we commend your on your brilliant choice of states to come to first. the original frigate that carried marquis de lafayette to america was built in 1779. and had a 32 gun artillery. it did not have italian engines that the frigate is packing today. at the time, that ship could
outsail any ship on the seas. it was the pride of the french navy and the british navy was jealous of that ship. [applause] i'm irish. heritage. [laughter] governor mcauliffe: for americans, the arrival of this fantastic ship came with the promise of more ships and more frenchmen to fight alongside us on our cause and fight for liberty. those men and ship were essential to our victory at yorktown. this was great news for general george washington, particularly because the pledge of assistance was brought by one of his closest friends. the marquis first came to america in 1777 when he was just 19 years old. he was orphaned as a toddler. the marquis soon developed an affectionate bond with general
washington, who was 25 years his senior and did not have any children of his own. during the revolution, the marquis wore the blue uniform of a major general in the continental army. he was more than just a young aristocrat making a statement, as washington quickly recognized. washington shared with the marquis even the most sensitive information that was withheld from other military officers. and the marquis kept a close eye on the troops. in one case, warning the general that a particular officer was being extremely obnoxious in virginia. the letters and their friendship continued long after the revolution was over. indeed, general washington confided that he typically answered the marquis's letters as soon as they arrived. he worried about the struggles of a new nation trying to define itself.
washington worried about the young frenchman's safety in the turmoil that was going on in europe. the marquis pestered washington to please accept the presidency, while washington insisted that the office of the presidency "has no enticing charms." [laughter] governor mcauliffe: if they only knew. there were letters welcoming the marquis's new son who was named george washington lafayette. in another letter, washington admitted he was reluctant to visit his friend in paris because he did not speak the language and feared the french women would find him awkward. the two men even corresponded over their experience and subjects of the famous french sculptor rodan. and today, both of those priceless works are in our rotunda in the capital in richmond. the two men debated serious issues confronting our new nation. the marquis tried to persuade
washington to free his own slaves in an effort to encourage a national emancipation. washington agreed with the goal but did not believe the country would accept it. he let this crucial opportunity pass without acting. the marquis was brave enough and wise enough to see in his new friend a greater good than we were able to see in ourselves. we settled for less. the marquis's great sadness for far too many years. i would like to think that today washington and his good friend would be pleased at the progress since this ship first arrived in america. but they would also urge us to continue our work, folks, to make this commonwealth and this nation the place were all virginians and all americans have equal opportunities for success. six months before the marquis set sail on his return to
america, washington wrote "your forward zeal in the cause of liberty, your singular attachment to this infant world and your strict and uniform -- -- uniform friendship for me has ripened the first impressions of esteem into such perfect love our gratitude that neither time nor absence can ever impair." the ship we welcome today to virginia is the product of 17 years of dedication to the cause of liberty by so many individuals on both sides of the atlantic. it is also a tribute to a friendship between two men and two countries that has lasted for centuries. we celebrate this day with the assurance that we are both stronger and better because of that friendship. thank you for being here today. and to the french, thank you for all you have done for united states of america. thank you. [applause]
tom: now, ladies and gentlemen i would like to introduce mr. miles young. he is president of the friends of the hermione-lafayette in america. he lives in new york, his adopted home. when he speaks you will understand what i mean by "adopted." he is chairman and ceo of ogilvie & mather, one of the world's largest and most storied advertising companies in the world. mr. young? [applause] mr. young: your excellency, the governor, chairman shepherd, the story of the hermione operates at many levels. at one level, it symbolizes a tipping point in history. the journey which brought the news to general washington of
wholehearted french support to the american insurgents. how appropriate it is that the hermione has arrived in yorktown because that news led to the decisive president of the expedition -- here at the end game of the revolutionary war where the hermione on the sea side and lafayette on the land side were reunited. at another level, it is the story of modern-day audacity. lafayette's motto "why not" describes this well. why not build an authentic replica of a french 18th century frigate and sail it to the u.s.? that was the question a few visionaries asked. >> i'm an historian by academic
background. i read history. i suppose i could be called a businessman right now. i profoundly believe in the value of the humanities and the importance of history. for people who say that we only need science graduates. in my view they are very wrong. history is a living thing but has to be worked at and taught. it is a great danger about what is being forgotten. most americans do not remember that there were more french people fighting here in yorktown than americans. they don't remember that it was the support of louis the 16th who gave a message from lafayette to washington that was a turning point in the war that would otherwise be lost. bringing those things back to public memory is fascinating. when the project was originally conceived, it was always imagined she would sail to america, to repeat the voyage which the original hermione made
to fight here. the ship took a long time to build. but at some stage in the last third of the period, an american group started to cohere. i came in two years ago. since then, we set up committees in 11 ports. our job was to raise money, we raised $3 million. we have had to arrange the ports, the government. we've had to create an educational and cultural program around it, create a website, social media program and all the things that make it into a genuine public history project. it started in people's minds in the late 1990's because the original hermione had fought here. it went back to france. then went to the indian ocean and it fought in the battle's of madras. returned to france. fought in the revolutionary war.
then in the late '90's, the remains were found again but they were not sufficiently extant to permit some kind of raising. it was enough to build an idea why couldn't it be reconstructed? rochefort is the original french naval dock. the first hermione was built in rochefort. the mayor of rochefort saw this as an economic regeneration project. the idea developed there. it got some backers. then the famous author became the figurehead for the organization. and, of course, actually, the mayor was right. 4.5 million visitors came into rochefort and put the town back on the map. it is an example of how heritage can pay.
it was very difficult to build because some of these skills are not there he obvious. the decision had been made that this should be an authentic replica. so, there were some concessions. there is an engine, there is radar. those are forced by coast guard's and by health and safety. some metal bolts in the sub structure of the hull, but otherwise very little compromise. you have to find thousands of french oak trees, and they have to be shaped like this. in the old french forests, they were grown along water courses so they would naturally bend. then you need a tree that grows like that and has a joint like that. and you only use the section. how do you find those in today's world? it took 10 years to find the french oak that made the ship what it is. some of the skills came from sweden.
sweden does have the tradition of creating authentic ships. otherwise, a lot of schools around rochefort, the sail making, the rigging, for instance, the cannons were found in the original foundry. so, it took time, because the decision was made not to compromise. >> how can you crystallize the importance of lafayette for americans? mr. young: at one level, he was an american founding father but it does not tell you the guts of the thing. he was a crazy youth who had the idea that the american war was a good, just war. came across as a teenager, befriended washington. he then fought gallantly. he became something of a confidente of washington. washington trusted him using him as a spy within the camp to tell
him if other people were being defeatist or gossiping or whatever. then washington and trusted him to go on a lobby mission back to france. lafayette's motto was "why not?" he had this sense of nothing is impossible. an enormous sense of self-confidence. that can-do spirit, something like the american spirit, the american dream. so, he operates at a number of different levels as a -- at the more normal level but also something spiritual, that he could defy all odds. [singing] ♪
>> hip hip! >> hoorah! mr. young: he had a checkered life after that. he was a personality in the revolution. in some sense, he was quite famous and admirable. he was present at the fall of the bastille. he sent washington a key that is still in the hallway in mount vernon. at another point in the revolution, he bottomed out. he wasn't quite sure where he was. he lost the king and queen their lives. he could have protected him. -- them. they had protected him. he did not come out so well in the revolution. he went to prison. he was captured by the austrians, terrible conditions.
an amazing wife. adrienne went and joined him with their two daughters. she got ill and eventually died. they went back to france. napoleon shoved them off into the countryside. did not want anything to do with him, just wanted to keep them quiet. he had no love for the restored monarchy, but when louis philippe came to power, the marquis de lafayette had a second time of greatness. he was instrumental as a liberal. he came back to the states in 1824. a heroic visit. i am in the advertising business and this is one of the great marketing events. his return to the states. you could buy everything from a shoe brush to a comb with his name on it. over 40 pounds named -- towns
named after lafayette. streets were named after lafayette. so, he became at that point an american icon. and america recognized the amazing role he had played. [singing] ♪ >> in relation to the sailors , they saying songs for different times. songs to rise, songs for arrival. and so we choose between hundreds, we chose five.
for one, we preferred and read a lot to sing it. sing it when we were running out in passage. because of the sailors songs you can sing it very loud. you can yell it. if you sing not very well, it's ok. >> [singing] >> [applause] >> how did you find yourself doing this? >> i visited the ship once. they told, we are looking for a crew. for me, that was a dream because
i grew up in a city in brittany by the sea. this is a primitive city. it is just a stone city. i spent hours and hours with -- playing with that ship in mind. dreaming to see one coming. she came. it's really a kid's dream that becomes true. >> were you on the crossing? >> yes. i was on the crossing. i boarded in spain. so, we did the 34 days, which is four days better than the first hermione, that she did not have engines we had. >> so, equality between the two. >> i am -- from france. i'm 32. i spent the past eight years
living in canada. every time i took the plane to go back-and-forth, i thought one day i will do that and go by boat. i never -- i never imagined i would do that on a tall ship. i had everything to learn. i learned absolutely everything on that boat. it is amazing how much we have learned and accomplished in such a short amount of time. >> from central pennsylvania. one of the really amazing things about sailing ships in this period are ships are machines moved by human hands. everything we do we are doing by hand. we make the rope, we tie the
rigging together we test the sails, go aloft. it's all human speed across the ocean. this ship is a little bit fast -- faster than 2 1/2 knots. we have her cooking along a bit. still, it is not much faster than human speed. in today's life, we are very fast. we are always moving, trying to do things. there is none of that at sea. we are just going. we are in our own community and we get to learn -- we have to learn old things again. >> and you don't have a choice but to live in the moment. and that is something we rarely have the luxury to do when we are on land. >> of course, from historical -- an historical standpoint, the importance of this ship, because it could've been any ship that was rebuilt but they chose the hermione because of lafayette and his relationship to the states and the importance of their relationship with washington.
and i think it's a tremendous moment for all of us particularly those that organized it, franco-americans to understand that great things happened from this ship being built, being sailed across by the 320 that were aboard that ship when she came, to the understanding that those two countries came to. it -- the thing that came to me which i had not learned in school was that lafayette was 19 when he first crossed the ocean. he taught himself english on the crossing. to return to the ship, it was astounding to me what a young individual like him, with opportunities, granted that he had, was able to accomplish. to my children, i extend that lesson and i hope that people reflect about what's possible to accomplish with a small number of people and a small number of young people if they set their mind to it. >> it is about a country --
accomplishing your dreams. >> yes. yeah, a lot of people on board had reason to do this. >> and sometimes you do not allow yourself to dream or to dream that you would accomplish your dreams, actually. that is what we are doing here. that is a good lesson for everyone. >> so, what made you get involved in sailing hermione from france to america? >> because i'm from the place. i'm from -- so rochefort is near to that place. i saw the ship building. i saw the, the skeleton. >> a naked whale skeleton? >> yes. i was already thinking i would like to sail on that ship.
i applied very early. i applied again and the ship -- i applied again. and it finally worked. it's great. i didn't believe it. >> like, why not? >> if you don't ask -- >> just like lafayette. [laughter] >> true. it's a pleasure to be part of that. >> it's an honor to have you here and your whole ship's company. >> everybody is so happy to have time to visit the u.s.a. >> for me, it has been a dream that has taken 40 years to accomplish. i wanted to cross the atlantic for that long, and when the opportunity to crew came around, i started to train for it. i started to learn more about square rigors i had never sailed on before. for me, this was a goal to
accomplish and i feel great that i am here. >> what is it like being in the middle of the atlantic on a ship like this? >> it gives you a lot of time to think and a lot of time to reflect upon what you do during the rest of the time you are a sure -- ashore. it is also an opportunity to get to know the group aboard. the community is fascinating to watch it of all and find the understanding that people come to, the 80 people aboard, how you are going to run the ship and how you're are going to work with each other to make it an enjoyable experience. and it does. we've created strong bonds, strong friendships that i know will last for a very long time. >> [creaking] >> [speaking frenhc]
>> [speaking frenhc] >> we had some storms. not so strong. only 32 -- 30 to 45 knots. the strongest was 45 knots. at that time, everybody was so excited. we are the weather now! let's fight. let's go to tie the sails. it was great. yes. >> [man speaking french] >> [man speaking french] >> no, there were no women aboard the original ship.
i know there used to be women on ships that were going to cape horn. wives, actually. but there were not working to maneuver the ship. it's pretty -- it's pretty cool that there are women on this ship today. we are -- 33% of the crew is made of women, yes. and the captain usually works, his mate is a woman as well. i know he likes that because it calms, it calms the crew. i think it's easier to manage a crew not made just out of men. for too long.
several ministerial post between 1992 and 2000. he chaired the -- region of france from april 2004 to 2014 and has remained a regional counselor since may 2014. he holds a degree in economics and was the runner-up to the french presidency in 2007. madame royale. [applause] royale: governor, president shepherd, congress meg whitman -- congressman whitman, mr. ambassador de drancefrance [speaking french], ladies and gentlemen, i am very happy to join you here today in welcoming the hermione on behalf of the
president of the french republic and the french government. and as minister in charge of the sea and sustainable development. may i add how proud i am that this extraordinary adventure came to fruition in part thanks to the support of my region. today, a dream becomes reality. a dream of thousands of the volunteers led by benedict -- involved for more than 10 years. a dream of territories and their citizens. the department of -- and the city of rochefort. a dream for 50 small
corporations specialized in all the handcraft needed to rebuild the ship the way it was in 1780. the ironwork and the foundry of guns. a dream for four million visitors to the site of the building over the last 10 years. a dream for their children whom i asked to make the furniture for the ship. a dream i want all our american friends to share. thanks to the dedication of mike young and his team. many thanks to yorktown for its warm welcome. and to the hermione crew. to its captain. to its experienced sailors and to each 100 young volunteers.
lafayette was hardly 20 years old when he crossed the atlantic for the first time to side with the american insurgents. in paris, he pleaded for the cause of the country he would forever consider his second homeland. he returned on board hermione, bringing with him the good news , the imminent arrival of troops and warships sent by france. the victory of yorktown obtained by the americans and french troops fighting together sealed the fate of the war. upon returning to france, until -- in 1782, left a at -- lafayette shared his admiration of american institutions. he namded his son george
washington, and christened one of his daughters virginie in homage to the virginians. the voyage of hermione was the pivotal moment that founded this fraternal alliance between the united states and france. an alliance that never failed. each time, vital stakes were at stake. -- at play. first, the cause of freedom in the new world. then in two different conflicts, the liberation of france and of europe. as the president said, with the -- when the new hermione sailed off the coast of france, for more than two centuries, the united states and france have stood united in freedom we all
-- owe to one another. from the sea is where the battles were won, to the beaches where the continent began generations of people who have defended the ideals that guide us, overcoming the darkness of oppression and injustice with the light of liberty and equality time and again. now, mr. governor. >> [applause] royale: i bring you the rights of men and citizens that i gave to the crew when she sailed last april. this text for our republic was
largely inspired by your declaration of independence. it was lafayette who first proposed to our constituent assembly in 1789 that it adopt the declaration of rights. i wanted to symbolically bring this important text to the land that gave its initial impetus. as lafayette wrote, "for freedom to thrive, men will always have to rise up and shake off in -- indifference and resignation. long live our friendship." thank you. >> [applause]
i camp nearby with other members of the crew. we spend some days preparing the ship for the crossing, making si zes, making knots, and building the rigging and so on. so you learn like that. the sailors, they show you. we have an exceptional crew. regular crew. they are great, great, great. we have a swedish boatswain. worked on the ship in sweden. she is called the goteburg. he knows everything. at the same time, artists, crew members, animators, so you learn very fast with people like him. >> my day job is sailing ships like this. i worked with a man who designed this rigging. for 8-10 months i worked with him in rochefort.
then just a few weeks before sailing, i was invited to come aboard the ship and sale across -- sail across the atlantic. >> how difficult is the work? >> it depends what age you are. [laughter] and the weather. what you said earlier was important, it is the teamwork that, because individually and even in a group of five or six people, you go up on one of these yards and it will not happen. the mainsail -- it gets wet it's almost a ton. it takes 30 to 35 people working together to furl that sail. i think it is the ability to -- to communicate clearly with each other as to what you are going to do next. it is one of the hardest things to do especially when the wind is blowing. you use sign language, body language. it is -- that is one thing i did
not anticipate. it's very, very important. >> [indistinct chatter] >> we have lots of different jobs on the ship. do you have a favorite job to do on the ship? >> good question. >> yeah, furling the highest sail on the ship. you are 47 meters up in the air. there is nothing around you but air and you are standing on this 20 millimeter foot rope. your life is depending on the ropes. it's quite, for me, it's calming to be in that place. >> the only moment of alone time
you can get on board is also when you're on the watch. and you're at the end of the balustrade and you are by yourself, sometimes at night. you spend one hour by yourself. you are outside the ship actually. and it's beautiful, and it is quiet. yeah, that's a nice moment as well. >> i concur with them. i would only that -- add that for me, homing the ship was a wonderful experience because she is so gentle at the helm. i did not expect that from a ship this big. really, the visibility you have from the aft deck to the port of the ship, it distracted me from the job of being a helmsman. i am supposed to follow a straight course, but now i'm looking ahead and i want to go up that next wave.
she sails beautifully, and helm ing is a lot of fun. >> why is it important to do what you are doing? >> well, it's quite a difficult question because it is a special relationship between the two countries, i think. and this, what hermione materializes is that personally, i'll hope -- i hope that people that just dream, they are just going to feel they want to ship, to come here because it is possible. we have three americans on board. i hope the kids will dream. i hope their parents will know the american culture all over the world. and it's, to me, it is more than the relation, the diplomatic question between france and u.s.a.
[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> join us this weekend as we learn about the history and literary life about omaha, nebraska. where one of the first advocacy groups fought for equality. >> they had a reputation that if you came in and were black, you needed to keep your head down and be aware that you weren't going to be served in restaurants, which going to be able to stay in hotels. when the club begin their operations, the idea and, in fact, the term civil rights wasn't in use. that the idea of civil rights was so far removed from the --
the idea of the greater community of omaha or the united states that they were kind of operating in a vacuum. i like to say they were operating without a net. they were not the support groups that were the prior experiences of other groups to challenge racial discrimination and segregation. >> we look back to the union pacific and how the construction of union stations helped omaha's economy. >> the union pacific is one of the premier railroad companies of america. it was founded in 1862 with the pacific railroad act signed into law by abraham lincoln. it combines several road companies to make union pacific. and then they were charged with building the transcontinental railroad. so they started here and were moving west. and central pacific started on the west coast and was moving east. they met up in utah. and that is really what propels us even farther, we become that -- that point of moving west.
one of the gateways to the west. >> see all of our programs from omaha today at noon eastern on c-span twos "booktv," and sunday afternoon on "american history tv" on c-span3. >> three men and a woman believed to be members of the prater reagan nationalist gang in november 1950, attempted the assassination of president truman. opened fire from the visitors gallery of the house of representatives. five congressmen were hit. jensen of iowa, clifford davis of tennessee, kenneth roberts of alabama, george allen of maryland, and albert bentley of michigan, who was seriously injured. the gun wielders go the evil distinction of having perpetrated a criminal outrage almost unique in america's history. >> it was one of the most violent acts that ever occurred
in the chamber. and there were debates right after that saying we cannot let this happen again, what we need to do is wall off the visitors gallery with the bulletproof glass. so this could never happen again. and the more the members talked about that and thought about it, they said, no, that is a bad idea. this is the people's house and the people can't be walled off from the for and what is going on there. >> the capital building is a simple and that makes it a target. they mentioned the british burned the building in 1814. there was a bombing during world war i by a professor who was opposed to american support for the allies. there was the shooting in 1954. what happened in 1971 was a bomb set up by the weather underground opposed to the vietnam war. in 1983, there was another bombing in the senate side by a group opposed to president reagan's foreign-policy. in 1998, they were to capital
policeman shot and killed. there have been those incidents over time. and yet they capital has remained a remarkably open building. >> don ritchie and former house historian ray smock on the history of the house and senate, its leaders, and prominent events. sunday night at a hockey stick and pacific on c-span's "q&a." >> next, author marilyn irvin holt talks about how the u.s. government became more involved in baby boomer's cold war childhood. in large part to prepare america's children to compete against their communist peers. this 50 minute talk was sponsored by the national archives in kansas city. holt: good evening and thank you